The bats were hot for the baseball team Sunday as it beat Akron 18-8 to salvage a win at chilly Theunissen Stadium Sunday.
The temperatures were in the low 40s all weekend as the Zips took games one and two from the Chippewas, but the bats heated up in the snow on Sunday as the team tallied 23 hits and two home runs in the win.
“I was very pleased with how the guys performed today,” said head coach Steve Jaksa. “We swung it really well and I thought we were really good at the plate across the board. It wasn’t just one guy and we wore their staff out today.”
The game was tied at three heading into the third inning.
That’s when the offensive outburst began.
Sophomore Cody Leichman lead off the inning with a home run that pegged the flag post behind the left-center field wall. Leichman went 4-for-6 on the day as he batted .500 over the weekend.
“He was just excited to get a home run,” Jaksa said. “For him, it was a big thing and he has been hot; consistency is very important.”
That was one thing the Chippewas had at the plate on Sunday, consistency.
Senior Jordan Adams was 2-for-5 with three RBI. All three RBI came at the end of the third inning when he cleared the bases with a double to deep center field. The team brought in seven runs in the third inning and followed that up with another seven runs in the fourth inning.
“Hitting is contagious when everyone takes care of their own business,” Jaksa said. “One guy could have a good day, but you’ve got to have a series of guys and I thought, one-to-nine, put together some really good at-bats.”
It was a good thing the bats were going because senior pitcher Rick Dodridge gave up an uncharacteristic six earned runs.
He finished the day with five innings of work allowing eight hits and six walks, but earned the win on senior day.
“Yeah it was uncharacteristic; he walked too many guys today,” Jaksa said. “No particular reason why, but he held in there … he deserved the (win) being his last time pitching in Theunissen Stadium I wanted him to get that (win).”
Freshman Jimmy McNamara came in to relieve Dodridge and threw four innings, allowing him to earn the save despite the 10-run win.
In those four innings McNamara only allowed one earned run and walked one batter.
“I thought (McNamara) filled up the zone, that’s what Mac does,” Jaksa said. “I though he pitched much better than he did at Oakland. Overall, very good … with the lead I thought ‘let’s just let him finish the game’.”
Sophomore Nick Regnier had another good day at the plate with a home run in the first inning as he went 4-for-4 with four RBI. Redshirt freshman Neal Jacobs broke out of slump as he was a home run shy of the cycle and brought in two RBI of his own.
The win was even more important to save ground in the Mid-American Conference standings as the final week of the regular season is upon us.
The Chippewas are on the outside looking in on the MAC tournament as they are a game behind Toledo and Eastern Michigan. They hold the tiebreaker with the Eagles, but not the Rockets as they head to Kalamazoo to take on Western Michigan.
Before that game, CMU will pick up where it left off in Detroit as Michigan State comes to Theunissen at 1 :05 Tuesday to finish the Clash at Comerica game and then play the third and final game of the season-long three-game series.